2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
Paul has already expressed a very kind and and tender prayer of blessing in the last two verses of the previous chapter, and here he says this. Both of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians indicate they were experiencing a good bit of opposition and persecution, and it’s very easy to get discouraged under such circumstances. That’s why Paul specifically mentions the two things here: God’s love and Christ’s perseverance/patience/endurance. The reason to point them to God’s love is that the devil loves to lie to us and say that what is happening to us is evidence that God couldn’t possibly love us, but when we see through the lie and realize the magnitude of God’s love, we can get through anything. There are many things we don’t understand, but when we hang onto God’s love, everything else falls into place. That enables us to indeed have Christ’s endurance. As it says in Hebrews, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) This naturally brings to mind one of the signature verses of my ministry: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Remembering God’s love and Christ’s endurance will make us aware that God’s grace is indeed all we need. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
This is a very timely Word for me. I woke up before four, strongly aware of all the things I have to do within the next few days. At the same time, right now my wife is participating online in the graveside service for the wife of one of her cousins. The cousin himself is struggling with dementia, placing a total combined load on their daughter, an only child. My troubles are nothing compared to theirs! The thing is, God’s love and Christ’s endurance will get her through, and will get me through. I’m sure she needs wisdom for countless decisions, and I need wisdom for my tasks as well. Thankfully, the Bible promises that wisdom for those who acknowledge that they need it. (James 1:5) In my case, two things that really need to be settled today are the message for this coming Sunday, and the message for the interdenominational prayer meeting the following Wednesday, that needs to be decided for the sake of the person who is preparing the program. It would be simpler if I could use the same message, but some of our members participate in the prayer meeting, and God certainly isn’t short of things He wants to say! It is only when I focus on myself that everything seems overwhelming, because God is infinite, and He is never overwhelmed. As He has reminded me so many times over the past several years, I need to rest, relax, and rejoice!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all the things that are on my slate. Thank You that the church’s big tree was trimmed so nicely on Tuesday. Thank You for the progress I made yesterday in getting the branches cut up. My body isn’t used to that degree of exercise, but You will get me through it. Thank You that the academic term is winding down, and for the three exams I have to prepare, as well as the review material for one of the classes. Thank You for the experience I have in that area. Thank You that I have trash duty this afternoon with the neighborhood association, and for the personal connections I have through that. May I do everything with joy as unto You, rejoicing that I am not a slave but a son, as You had me write just a few days ago. (Colossians 3:23-24) May my faithful obedience bring You joy and glory. Thank You. Praise God!